GURU OR GUNDA?

August 23, 2010

Once upon a time, long ago, the earth was ruled by a king named Prithu. King Prithu was celebrated to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The king before him, King Vena, had been a demoniac and tyrannical despot. As such, due to his unpopularity, the wise sages of that time, seeking the benefit of the common mass of people, killed him by a curse. Not wishing to take up the reigns themselves, they prayed to Lord Vishnu for a good ruler, upon which Lord Vishnu Himself incarnated as King Prithu.

When King Prithu took over the reins of the kingdom, the citizens were suffering due to drought and under production of grains, vegetables and fruits. As the ruler, he summoned mother earth and questioned her regarding the reason for these problems. She replied that since the earlier king had stopped all sacrifices for Lord Vishnu, she was forced to curtail her production. Following her advice, King Prithu performed several Asvamedha Yajnas to make the kingdom prosperous. Due to his pious acts, the kingdom began to flourish on a level equal with that of heaven. King Prithu became celebrated even in the heavenly kingdoms.

When King Prithu was performing one such Yajna, King Indra, envious of the fame and glory of King Prithu, decided to play spoilsport. He disguised himself as a sannyasi in saffron robes and approached the Yajnashala. Since he was in saffron robes, no one stopped him. Taking advantage of the situation, he stole the horse specially meant for the Yajna and started running away from there. However, King Prithu’s son noticed him and pursued him. Finally, when threatened with a battle which would take his life, Indra relented and returned the horse to King Prithu. Resuming his real dress, he begged forgiveness from King Prithu, who readily did so.

However, from that day, it is said that frauds who wished to dupe the people, took on the garb of sannyasis. Until this incident, no one ever dared to commit the fraud of donning the garb of a sannyasi for some hidden motive. And the Srimad Bhagavatam, which relates this incident, mentions that Kali Yuga is full of such frauds who don the saffron robe just to dupe innocent people.

Now switching back to the present, ISKCON is an organization which was started in the year 1966 by His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – a genuine, bonafide Sannyasi in the Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya. Srila Prabhupada’s stupendous achievement of starting the movement with only Rs 40 and building it up to 108 centers all over the world with more than 5,000 followers in a short span of 11 years, while contributing immensely to the literary and philosophical world with his most authoritative translations and commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Isopanishad, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Sri Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Sri Sikshamrita etc., leave no doubt about his being an empowered representative of the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, with his passing in 1977, the pristine movement he established, seems to have become afflicted by the “fraud sannyasi” syndrome. Riddled with accusations of child abuse, murders, drug abuse, illegal accumulation of weapons etc., this great movement seems to have been hijacked by gundas posing as gurus.

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu Case 1: Jadurani Devi Dasi

Jadurani Devi Dasi, Judy Koslofsky, an art student in New York City, joined the ISKCON temple in the mid sixties. She created some of the most remarkable paintings of Krishna used extensively in ISKCON publications, even today.

Later she moved to Los Angeles ISKCON Temple and was working as an illustrator for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (the book publishing trust that Srila Prabhupada established). At this time, one of her god-brothers (Srila Prabhupada’s disciple) explained to her that Srila Prabhupada had appointed only ritviks or Officiating Acharyas contrary to what the gurus we recl aiming. After study ing the transcriptions of the recorded conversations during Srila Prabhupada’s last days in Vrindavan, she became convinced that “these gurus were bogus; and they have stolen Srila Prabhupada’s Movement.” She began to speak openly to the devotees in LA temple.

Nandini DD (Nori J Muster), an eye witness to the incident reports: “Upstairs in the LA temple balcony, one morning, I heard a woman screaming outside. I ran to the window and saw two men chasing Jadurani down Watseka Avenue, toward the traffic on Venice Boulevard. The first grabbed her white sari, which was falling from her shoulder. The other tackled her and held her down on the sidewalk while another man opened the door of a waiting car. They forced her in and the car sped away. I ran outside as devotees gathered on the street and learned that Jadurani had been ejected for blaspheming Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami (one of the eleven self-appointed gunda gurus), saying that he wasn’t a “real” guru like Prabhupada.” (Betrayal of the Spirit by Nori Muster, pg 85, University of Illinois Press).

Rameshvara Swami (one of the self-appointed gunda gurus) staying in Los Angeles had ordered Jadurani to be exiled. She then took shelter of a friend-devotee in Pittsburgh.

She later went to New Vrindavan, West Virginia to paint some pictures for the temple there. After some time, she again started preaching revolution: that the eleven self-proclaimed gunda gurus were fraud gurus, as they had not been authorized by Srila Prabhupada. Kirtanananda Swami, (one of the self-appointed gunda gurus overseeing the New Vrindavan temple) who heard of Jadurani’s outspoken rhetoric, told his two overzealous female disciples, Isani and Paryani DD, “Do the needful, but don’t tell me about it.”

The next day the two women attacked Jadurani without warning, behind the temple and knocked her down. They kicked her in the head, shattering her glasses. Then they jumped on her chest and beat her in the face with their fists. Another male devotee walking past the temple heard the screams. He ran around to the back and saw that the two women were beating Jadurani. He rushed over and pulled off the attackers. Blood was pouring down Jadurani’s face, blinding her. Isani, one of the attackers, screamed, “Tear her blood soaked sari and give it to us. We will put up a flagpole. We want to show people what happens when you speak against our guru, Srila Bhaktipada (the honorific title given to the gunda guru Kirtanannada Swami by his disciples)!”

(Excerpts from Los Angeles Times reporting the th beating incident, Feb 15 , 1981 and from the
book, Guru Business by Sulochana Dasa)


Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 2: Sulochana Dasa

The most severe response for this questioning of the gunda gurus was in 1986. Sulochana Dasa, one of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada, criticized the self – appointed gunda gurus and started gathering evidence on what Srila Prabhupada had intended for his ISKCON society from his letters and recorded conversations. He was compiling his findings into a book titled, The Guru Business. When he was working on the last chapter of his book, one day in 1986, not very far from the ISKCON temple in Los Angeles, Sulochana Dasa was shot at point-blank range on the direction of one of the self-proclaimed gunda gurus, Kirtanananda Swami6!! Later Kirtanananda Swami was convicted in 1991 and sent to prison in North Carolina to serve a thirty year sentence.7
Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 3: Yasomatinandana Dasa

Yashomatinandana Prabhu had joined ISKCON during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence and he had the good fortune to meet His Divine Grace personally. Srila Prabhupada said that he should preach in Gujarat and he was happy to see that many educated Indians were also joining the movement. He is now currently the president of ISKCON in Ahmedabad. He has been serving in ISKCON for our three decades. During the implementation of draconian Zonal Acharya system he was one of the victim of the gundaism of Guru specifically His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, one of the eleven guru fraudsters who unauthorizedly took over Srila Prabhupada’s position as acharya of ISKCON. Yasomatinandan prabhu, vehemently opposed the zonal acharya system. He was physically attacked with sticks by disciples of Jayapataka Swami in the holy dham of Mayapur when he voiced his dissent against the guru fraudsters, they even went to the extent of chasing him all over Mayapur and under threat forced him apologize to Jayapataka Swami.

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu case 4: Adhridharan Dasa

Adhridharan Dasa, Sunil Awatramani, came in touch with ISKCON in 1975 when he was a student in Miami, Florida. He soon joined ISKCON and later Srila Prabhupada appointed him as the Temple President of ISKCON, Calcutta. He too became aware of the selfappointed gunda gurus in ISKCON. He was also aware of the potential risks of speaking out the truth openly. Hence he remained silent for some time.

In 1998 he began speaking vociferously about the flawed gunda guru system in ISKCON along with Madhu Pandit Dasa, the Temple President of ISKCON, Bangalore. In 1999, the Governing Body Commission comprising solely of the gunda gurus expelled him from the ISKCON society. A group of about 250 hired gundas, disguised as ISKCON devotees, armed with sticks, choppers, knives and hammers mobbed the temple in Calcutta and physically threw Adridharan Dasa out of the temple8. The group of gundas acting under the direction of ISKCON-Mumbai, took control of the temple forcefully, doctored the accounting documents, fabricated a false case of misappropriation of funds, complained to the Calcutta Police and brought an arrest warrant against him!

Adridharan Dasa hails from a respectable family and was the ISKCON Temple President in Calcutta for over twenty years with no history of misappropriation of funds. But over night he was branded an undesirable element of ISKCON to be dispensed with!

Gunda Gurus attack sadhu 5: Madhu Pandit Dasa and ISKCON Bangalore

His Grace Madhu Pandit Das, a Civil Engineering graduate from IIT Mumbai (honored as one of the most distinguished alumnus of IIT Mumbai), took charge of the ISKCON Bangalore center in 1983. At that time, the center was just a fledgling one, running from a small rented house in Bangalore. Being the visionary that he was, His Grace Madhu Pandit Das gradually built up a team of more than 60 full time dedicated missionaries and raised several crores of Rupees to build one of the most recognized monuments of Bangalore city – the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Mandir in Rajajinagar, Bangalore, which was inaugurated by the then President of India. All this was done by his commendable efforts with no help or support of any kind – either financial or moral – coming from the gunda guru camp of ISKCON. A genuine follower of Srila Prabhupada’s true ISKCON, he built up a formidable reputation for being an intelligent, discerning, sincere, honest and upright devotee. In fact, in a very short time, he was acclaimed as the best Temple President in the whole of ISKCON for his very high spiritual and managerial standards.

All this changed in the year 1998, when His Grace Madhu Pandit Das started questioning the gundagiri tactics of the gurus of ISKCON. Overnight, he was labeled a traitor and fraud and expelled from the very movement whose reputation in the country had multiplied manifold because of his single handed efforts. Despite the gunda tactics of false court cases and baseless allegations of fraud, he commenced the Akshaya Patra program in 2000, which has gone on to become the most respected and the largest such effort in providing free mid day meals to hungry children in the government schools of India, reaching out to more than 12 lakh children every day in 18 locations in the country. The gunda guru camp with all its might and reach, has been unable to even reach half the effort of this single individual. However, the gunda gurus camp has left no stone unturned in their attempt to malign and derail his yeoman effort. This despite the fact that this program has won the appreciation of even Barack Obama and Bill Clinton! However, their gunda tactics are being gradually exposed as they lost one case after another in a humiliating manner in the Supreme Court of India and the lower court in Bangalore. Still, undeterred and shameless, they continue their gunda tactics, now resorting to a widespread misleading fraud campaign on the internet. Even this is bound to fail. Truth will prevail and the gunda gurus’ fraud will stand exposed in the days to come.

More details: www.madhupanditdasa.com

www.madhupanditdasa.info


Harassment to Life Patron Members of ISKCON-Bangalore

April 3, 2010

It was Srila Prabhupada’s mandate that the Life Patrons enrolled by all the ISKCON centers be honored as guests in every other center all over the world, and be provided with accommodation. This is the basis of the International Life Patron Membership program. Lakhs of Life Patron members have been enrolled all over the world under this scheme. Thousands of Life Patron members from all over India and abroad have availed of the Guest House facility at ISKCON-Bangalore in the last ten years. Similarly thousands of Life Patron members enrolled by ISKCON-Bangalore have availed of the guest house facilities in ISKCON centers around the world, wherever available, over the last two decades.

Since the past few months, ISKCON-Mumbai and ISKCON-Tirupati have started denying guest house accommodation to the Life Patron members of ISKCON-Bangalore. This is yet another device to harass the Life Patrons enrolled by ISKCON-Bangalore. However, in ISKCON-Bangalore, under the management of Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chancalapati Dasa and others, we continue to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instruction, and continue to graciously offer guest house facility to the Life Patron members of other ISKCON centers in India and abroad.

In spite of the order of the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka against interfering with the affairs of ISKCON-Bangalore, mischief is being created by ISKCON-Mumbai by misusing the list of life patrons of ISKCON-Bangalore by shooting out unsigned letters of allegations against Madhu Pandit Dasa to all the donors. This has necessitated clarifying our position to all of you through this supplementary issue.

Those patrons/donors needing accommodation in Mumbai, Tirupati and Chennai, are requested to call directly to 080-2347 1956 / 2357 8346 Extn: 4107 / 351. ISKCON-Bangalore has made alternative accommodation in these places for ISKCON-Bangalore life patrons/donors.
The devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore were shocked and horrified to learn of an email correspondence among the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ revealing diabolical plans to suppress Madhu Pandit Dasa! The very same self-proclaimed ‘guru’ whom Madhu Pandit Dasa had been misled to worship for over fifteen years as ‘as good as God’ (on his claim that he was appointed guru by Srila Prabhupada), was planning to fabricate false criminal cases against him to quell the deliberations that he and the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore had raised against the current guru system:

* “By the way, our new legal advisors have given us some new ideas that civil route is very slow, but the criminal route is quicker. Madhu Pandit Dasa has good reputation, but it does not take long to lose it if we do criminal cases against him.” Jayapataka Swami (GBC member and one of the self-proclaimed guru), (2001) email message TEXT PAMHO:4259580.

Added to this, the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ are unable to come to terms with the stellar growth of ISKCON-Bangalore’s activities all over India, especially through the Akshaya Patra program, which is feeding about ten lakh children everyday! This has been possible only by the blessings of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna-chandra and Srila Prabhupada. However, this growth is perceived by the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ as an implicit strengthening of the position advocated by the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore in the guru system debate.

The devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore are determined to stand together against all odds to see that ISKCON-Bangalore, a legally independent society registered in Karnataka, is dedicated unto Srila Prabhupada’s service alone, and not for the self-aggrandizement of the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’. ISKCON-Bangalore is Srila Prabhupada’s society and only his will may prevail here.


Self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ twist to the struggle

April 3, 2010

The ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Mandir at Bangalore was built by the donations of the people of Karnataka. And it is regarded as the richest ISKCON temple in the world. The self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ naturally grew jealous of the wealth associated with this temple. They have been unable to tolerate that this opulence is not available for themselves. And over and above this, the devotees of this rich and popular temple were shaking the very foundations of their guru system! This became unbearable to the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’.

Srila Prabhu pada- Iskcon bangalore

The self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ have been making various attempts to get hold of the ISKCON Bangalore temple and convert the good work being done by the devotees, led by Madhu Pandit Dasa, to add to their following, wealth and assets.

The devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore have been taking shelter of the judicial system of the country in order to protect their services to Srila Prabhupada’s movement and the society. Only the orders from the various courts have helped them in this matter. The self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ and their disciples have been restrained, by the court orders, from interfering with the affairs of ISKCON-Bangalore.

When the grapes turned sour for the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’, they quickly turned the tables around. They started projecting to the public, the struggle against the flawed guru system by the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore, as strife for personal gain.

Next, the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ began to malign the character of Madhu Pandit Dasa, who has been leading this struggle against the current guru system, in an attempt to discredit the position he advocates. They have described the struggle as a battle for “personal gain” and an attempt to “siphon off funds and assets to trusts of family members”! Damaging attempts have been made in the media, among our supporters, government officials and the general public to tarnish and taint the cause of the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore.

Ironically before 1999, the GBCs praised Madhu Pandit Dasa and others, for their service to the movement in developing the Bangalore temple project since 1984.

Until the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore started questioning the flawed self-proclaimed ‘guru’ system, and Madhu Pandit Dasa was regarded as “an asset to our leadership in ISKCON,” and appreciated for “maintaining excellent standards ethically and morally.”

* “Madhu Pandit Dasa has been the President of the Bangalore center for the past 14 years. His dedication and contribution to the movement is laudable. He has maintained excellent standards ethically and morally. He is an asset to our leadership in ISKCON and is highly respected by other leaders of our society. He has contributed immensely for the growth of the movement in Karnataka.” Letter by Gopal Krishna Goswami (GBC member and one of the self-proclaimed guru) dated November 4th, 1998.

* “I have known him (Madhu Pandit Dasa) for 18 years and I stand for his personal integrity in this matter. …Hence it is unfair and unethical on the part of any one who is indulging in this personal vilification campaign.” Letter by Jayapataka Swami (GBC member and one of the self-proclaimed guru) dated November 4th, 1998.

This compliment was bestowed as late as in November 1998. But once the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore started questioning the flawed guru system post 1999, the impressions were turned around 180 degrees overnight! All of a sudden, Madhu Pandit Dasa became the black sheep.


The irreverent oxymoron ‘guru mafia’

April 3, 2010

For several years, the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore had also been misled to follow the self-proclaimed guru system. Being used to the wrong culture, the first time they heard the expression ‘guru mafia’, they were alarmed. It sounded very irreverent and overstated. But as soon as they made an attempt to clarify their concerns about the guru system, and plead that the system set by Srila Prabhupada be followed, they had to face the wrath of the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’. The Governing Body Commission (GBC, now consisting mostly of self-proclaimed ‘gurus’) resolved to expel the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore and take over the Bangalore temple. There was no place in their system for doubts or inquiry. Anyone who ‘dared’ to raise a genuine question with concern for the Movement at large had to suffer such dire consequences.

Subsequently after seeing the various vicious devices that these self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ have planned and executed to attack Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chancalapati Dasa and all the other devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore, they now realize the expression ‘guru mafia’ is not overstated.


Struggle by the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore

April 3, 2010

Since 1999, the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore, under the guidance of Madhu Pandit Dasa, took upon themselves to seriously question this faulty guru system and made an appeal that ISKCON embrace the system planned by Srila Prabhupada.

The devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore are not the first to make this attempt. Nor are they alone in this struggle. They are joined by thousands of sincere devotees all over the world. Unfortunately these sincere devotees, having been driven out of ISKCON temples due to their questioning of the guru system in the past, are no more within the walls of ISKCON temples. Having raised their voice of dissent against the guru system, they became victims of persecution by the gurus and have been driven away from the ISKCON temples4. They warned the devotees of ISKCON-Bangalore,“Do not raise this issue, lest you be driven out of ISKCON by the guru mafia!”


Legal History of ISKCON-Bangalore Society

April 3, 2010

ISKCON-Bangalore was registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act at Bangalore in May 1978 as a legally independent society with objectives similar to the objectives of the first society, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. that Srila Prabhupada founded personally in 1966 at New York. Since then, ISKCON-Bangalore society is functioning in Bangalore as a member of the worldwide confederation of ISKCON temples.

ISKCON-Bangalore was registered by Shankabrit Dasa under the direction of Hamsadutta Swami, the then member of the original Governing Body Commission appointed by Srila Prabhupada, who was in charge of Bangalore.

In the year 2001, several hundreds of fanatic disciples of the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ made a vain attempt to physically storm Bangalore temple and throw out the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore and take illegal possession of the temple property. In defense of this ISKCON-Bangalore was obliged to file a suit being OS No.7934/01 seeking an order of injunction restraining ISKCON Bombay Society and others from interfering with our possession of the temple property. The Trial Court did not grant the injunction, but an appeal filed before the Hon’ble High Court granted the injunction sought for. The said order was confirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The matter is pending adjudication.

When the matter stands thus, absurd propaganda is being made by the agents of the self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ that Madhu Pandit Dasa ‘created’ the ISKCON-Bangalore society to grab the property of the temple on Hare Krishna Hill. This misinformation is indeed entirely false, baseless and ridiculous since Madhu Pandit Dasa joined ISKCON movement only in 1981, whereas the ISKCON-Bangalore society was registered as early as 1978.

It was the direction of Srila Prabhupada to register legally independent societies in the name and style of nternational Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) all over the world. In Dec. 1972, Srila Prabhupada wrote to one of his senior disciples, “Never mind there may be botheration to register each centre, take tax certificate each, become separate corporations in each state.” (Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Karandhara Das, Bombay, 22nd Dec 1972). Accordingly, today, there are hundreds of ISKCON societies incorporated all over the world. It was on the basis of this worldwide practice, that the then GBC member in charge of Karnataka, Hamsaduta Swami, directed Shankabrit Dasa to register the ISKCON-Bangalore society in Bangalore.


What happened after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance from this world?

April 3, 2010

Unfortunately, soon after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, his instructions on the guru system were totally disregarded. The Governing Body Commission (GBC) consisting of majority of ritviks, met in March 1978. They conspired to declare the eleven ritviks appointed by Srila Prabhupada as absolute successor gurus or acharyas. These ritviks stepped in to the elevated position of successor guru or acharya. They then declared themselves `present acharyas’ and occupied the `acharya peeta’ (the sacred seat of acharya) as successors of Srila Prabhupada. They regimented the newcomers to worship, honor and revere them as guru or acharya.

Large and ornate vyasasanas, or the special seat of the acharya, were created in each temple for these `new self-appointed acharyas’. The new entrants they initiated started offering elaborate daily puja to them with incense, lamps and flowers. Special Sanskrit verses were composed glorifying them and sung in public. They received special titles like Vishnupada, etc., to indicate that they now represent the lotus feet of Vishnu or they have taken the position of Vishnu to ‘deliver their disciples from the material world’.

The newcomers were taught that they should see their self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ “as good as God”. They were asked to consider their ‘spiritual master’s’ words as equal to God’s words. The self-appointed ‘gurus’ conveniently applied all that Srila Prabhupada had taught about a bona fide acharya to themselves. And instructed their disciples’ to treat them as such.